When most of us decide to learn to cook, we typically all start by taking similar steps. We get out a cookbook that was once a family favorite, or we take a cooking class to learn some delicious new recipes that we can later re-create for family and friends.
Then we read the recipes at home and follow the steps exactly. “One teaspoon sugar,” got it covered. “Two heads of lettuce,” purchased and plated.
But sometimes our dish doesn’t turn out the way we had planned. Something just seems a bit “off.” It’s lacking a little flavor or needs a little extra crisp to fit our liking.
And with that… welcome to the world of personal measurements!
When we are teaching classes at The Seasoned Chef, one conversation that regularly comes up is how to measure exactly what the recipe intends. If you’ve taken one of our classes, questions such as, “How much salt do I need to add?,” “How big is a ‘bunch of herbs?,'” or “What size onion should I use?” may all seem familiar.
The answer, unless you are baking – which demands precise measurements, temperatures and cooking times – is that there are very few exacts in the art of cooking.
Some areas where we recommend using your personal preference (aka “personal measurement”) are:
- Ingredient measurements
- Cooking time
- Size of ingredients included
If you like a lot of lettuce in your salad, then use a lot of lettuce. If you prefer a well-dressed salad, then double the dressing. The right amount of dressing is how much salad YOU want on your salad! If you prefer your steak a little bit more well done, then cook to your preference and up the heat and cooking time a bit.
Seasoning is always to taste, too, and that’s not just limited to salt and pepper! Don’t be afraid to experiment with seasonings such as mustard, vinegar, and Tabasco. Try out a few different amounts and combinations and you’ll learn how you like your food to taste in no time at all.
The Techniques Remain the Same
What should remain exact when it comes to cooking are the techniques that you to use when cooking various dishes. If a recipe or specific ingredient requires sautéing, then you should be sure to know how to sauté correctly. If it’s recommended that you use a grill for a specific dish, then we would recommend that you use a grill, too.
From sautéing and roasting, to blanching and emulsifying, as long as you follow the basic technique skills in the kitchen, personal measurements can be just that – truly personal!
If these techniques are brand new to you, or if you need a little refresher, then check out our cooking classes here where you’ll learn everything that you need to know.
How to Know if Your Personal Measurement is “Right”
With personal measurements being so open-ended, in that there is no “right” answer, how do we know if our dish has been cooked correctly or that it will even end up pleasing our intended audience?
Ready for this one? You might want to sit down…
Taste the dish first.
We at The Seasoned Chef are HUGE fans of tasting our food before we serve it. Never be afraid to taste and season, and always try to over-emphasize the flavors.
So, when in doubt, always remember the golden rule. Taste your dish before you serve it. If you don’t like it, then no one else will either!
To learn more about our signature cooking classes and to book your spot, click here.